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Freeing Mussolini (Hardback)

Dismantling the Skorzeny Myth in the Gran Sasso Raid

WWII Hitler & the Third Reich Military

By Oscar Gonzalez
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 104
ISBN: 9781526719973
Published: 5th September 2018



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The operation to free Mussolini, who was being held prisoner in a high mountain hotel on the summit of Gran Sasso, Italy in September 1943, is without a doubt one of the most spectacular operations not only of the Second World War, but in all military history.

German paratroopers, the Wehrmacht's elite, were responsible for organising the rescue in record time, and executing a daring and perfectly synchronised operation between land and airborne detachments. Surprise and speed were the Fallschirmjäger's main weapons, surprising the Italian garrison guarding il Duce. For political reasons Otto Skorzeny, the clever SS officer, also participated in the operation, leading a dozen of his commandos. Propaganda and his connections with Himmler made him into the false hero of the mission, over-emphasising his role in the whole search and rescue operation.

Based on the testimony of several protagonists in this incredible operation, as well as analysing major documents (letters, reports by General Kurt Student etc.) and the abundant literature available on the subject, this book dismantles the 'Skorzeny Myth' and reveals the truth of what really happened in a mission that even Churchill called 'one of great daring'.

Review by Todd Shugart

It’s a fascinating and somewhat regrettably short read. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the mission, the German Fallschirmjager, or commando operations in general.

Aviation News

A beautiful book that cannot be missed on the shelves even of those who, like me, know this story.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

An excellent account of this most daring raid from WW2, one which even Churchill admired, and as a recent visitor to the Gran Sasso, one well worth reading.

Read the complete review online here.

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As featured 'ON THE SHELF'

Wargames Illustrated, August 2018
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